include_once("common_lab_header.php");
Excerpt for Moving On - Book 27 in the Action! Series by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

This page may contain adult content. If you are under age 18, or you arrived by accident, please do not read further.


MOVING ON

an Action! Series Book

By

G.A.HAUSER


Smashwords Edition

Copyright © G.A. Hauser, 2018

MOVING ON

Book 27 of the Action! Series

Copyright © G.A. Hauser, 2018

ISBN Trade paperback: 978-1984-1289-5-9

© The G.A. Hauser Collection LLC


This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or business establishments, events or locales is coincidental.


All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.


WARNING

This book contains material that maybe offensive to some: graphic language, homosexual relations, adult situations. Please store your books carefully where they cannot be accessed by underage readers.


First The G.A. Hauser Collection LLC publication:

February 2018

ABOUT THE E-BOOK YOU HAVE PURCHASED: PLEASE READ-

Your non-refundable purchase of this e-book allows you to only ONE LEGAL copy for your own personal reading on your own personal computer or device. You do not have resell or distribution rights without the prior written permission of both the publisher and the copyright owner of this book. This book cannot be copied in any format, sold, or otherwise transferred from your computer to another through upload to a file sharing peer to peer program, for free or for a fee, or as a prize in any contest. Such action is illegal and in violation of the U.S. Copyright Law. Distribution of this e-book, in whole or in part, online, offline, in print or in any way or any other method currently known or yet to be invented, is forbidden. If you do not want this book anymore, you must delete it from your computer.



WARNING:


“The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000."

Chapter 1


Stan Charles leaned over the sink in the marble master bathroom in the large Bel Air, California home. He placed contacts into his eyes, blinking as he did.

Movement behind him caught his attention.

Wearing a dark business suit and tie, Mark Antonious Richfield touched Stan’s low back as he opened the vanity cabinet to remove a hairbrush.

When Mark noticed what Stan was doing, he stopped short and had a closer look.

Stan smiled. “Yes?”

“Blue?”

“They’re colored contacts.” Stan glanced at his face in the mirror.

“But, why?” Mark took a brush to his shoulder-length brown hair. “You’re perfect as you are.”

“Far from it.” Stan liked how his eyes looked with the blue color. His natural eye color was hazel. He had brown contacts as well.

“You know, I do recall the first time I met you. That day you drove me to the airport.” Mark set the brush down and folded his arms. “They were blue.”

“Now you know my secret.” Stan closed the lens case.

“So many secrets, so much time to explore.” Mark held him from behind so they were both reflected in the mirror.

“I just moved in.” Stan stared at Mark’s sexy green eyes and fabulous model beauty. “We’ve got nothing but time.”

“Yes. Except right now.” Mark kissed his cheek. “I must go.”

Stan watched as Mark left the bathroom. He followed him into the master bedroom. Mark was checking his phone before pocketing it with his wallet.

It was Friday, and Mark had to work in advertising at Parsons and Company, where Mark’s husband Steve Miller worked.

“Right.” Mark ran his hand through his hair. “And you’re on-call with the limo service?”

“Yes. I’ll most likely be working from noon to four or five. And I’m going to hit the gym.”

“All right, my pet.” Mark kissed him. “I left coffee for you.”

“Thanks.”

Mark headed down the carpeted stairs.

Stan took a moment to look around the bedroom. It didn’t feel like home yet. He had no idea if it ever would.

~

Wearing a crisp, dark uniform, Chief of Police Billy Sharpe, stood near the counter of his kitchen, drinking coffee. He stared out of his back sliding door, seeing his pool, which was covered for the winter, and the view of the Getty Museum.

He glanced behind him as Steve entered the kitchen, placing his suit jacket and briefcase near the door to the garage.

Steve moving in hadn’t disrupted his and Alex’s schedules. But, Billy wasn’t sure Steve living here permanently was a good idea. What he really wanted was to see Steve and Mark reconcile.

“Morning,” Steve said, pouring coffee into a travel mug.

“Morning.” Knowing Steve had to work with Mark, Billy didn’t say much.

Alexander and Tadzio were the next to enter the room, craving coffee before they left the house.

“What are we doing for dinner?” Alex asked, his long, brown hair flowing down the shoulders of his white cotton pullover.

Tadzio checked his phone as he waited his turn at the coffee pot, which was emptying quickly. “I can cook.”

Since Steve and Tadzio slept in the same guest bedroom, Billy kept his thoughts to himself. If Steve intended on trying to win Mark back, sleeping with the young, blond, Swedish runway model wasn’t going to help.

“Dinner? Hello?” Tadzio dumped the old coffee grounds and refilled the carafe with water. “I can make it.”

“Nah. It’s Friday. Let’s go out.” Alex sipped from his mug and then dropped bread into the toaster.

“Bye.” Steve folded his jacket over his arm, picked up his briefcase and travel mug, and left.

Once he had, Alex met Billy’s gaze. “This sucks.”

Billy wasn’t going to argue. He tried to get eye contact from the pretty blond, but Tadzio’s focus was on scooping coffee grounds into the filter and starting the drip.

“Dinner?” Tadzio asked.

“I don’t care what we do.” Billy took one of the toasted slices of bread and spread butter on it.

He heard Alex sigh loudly.

It would take time for this to feel normal. At the moment, it felt like shit.

~

Mark parked his TVR Tuscan sports car in his reserved spot at Parsons and Company. He was tired and glad it was the end of the week. Just as he was about to get out of the low slung car, he noticed Steve’s Mercedes pull in beside him. Mark waited, feeling an icy pit in his stomach, dreading a confrontation.

Once Steve’s car came to a halt, Mark exited his car and took his suit jacket from the back seat and put it on in the cold breeze.

Steve climbed out of his car as well, doing the same; something the two of them had done since they began working together.

Ironically, Mark and Steve had been adversaries when Mark had first been hired on. He and Steve competed for a few prized accounts.

Then, they became lovers, and partners, working as a team.

Mark put his sunglasses on and was about to make his way to the elevators alone when his husband called his name.

Mark paused and glanced back at him.

Steve walked with him to the elevator.

It was awkward. What could Mark say? He had asked Steve to move out and moved a man who was twenty years younger than he was-in.

Steve held open the elevator door for Mark. He joined Steve and faced the front, hoping no one else rode with them. After the doors closed, Steve exhaled and held his briefcase by his side.

“Hullo, Steven.” Mark figured they had to at least be civil.

Steve glanced at him as they rode to their floor.

Mark moved his sunglasses to the top of his head. “Not even a hullo?” When Steve met his gaze, Mark’s heart broke. “Love? I never meant to hurt you.”

“You kicked me out. How could you not hurt me?”

Before the elevator made it to their floor and opened to their receptionist, Mark slapped the ‘stop’ button. The elevator came to a halt.

Steve lowered his head.

Mark stood in front of him. “Why did you have to become violent?”

“I didn’t. Did I?” Steve appeared exhausted.

“You did.” Mark wanted to touch him but didn’t dare.

“What did I do?” Steve looked bewildered.

“You struck out. You wanted to fight.”

“Mark…” Steve shook his head.

“If you hadn’t, perhaps we could have talked.”

Steve set his briefcase down by his feet. “Talked? Are you telling me if I hadn’t gotten physical—”

“Yes. That’s precisely what I am saying.” Mark crossed his arms over his suit jacket. “I detest violence.”

“Oh, God.” Steve’s eyes became watery.

“I dealt with violence from my father. You knew that. Why? Why did you have to lash out? Aren’t we adults?”

“You…” Steve shook his head. “You fell in love with a man younger than your son.”

“I fell for you whilst I was engaged to Sharon Tice. What’s your point?”

“I have no point. I just want to know if I still have a chance.”

Mark looked up at the unlit numbers over the door. “Are you sleeping in Tadzio’s bed?”

Steve’s expression hardened. “Are you sleeping with Stan?”

Lowering his sunglasses, Mark started the elevator once more and backed away from Steve. The moment it opened, Mark walked by the receptionist, and headed directly to his office.

~

Steve picked up his briefcase and stopped at the receptionist’s desk.

“Hi, Steve.”

“Hi, Amber.” He took his mail and messages.

“Are you and Mark back together?” she asked, looking hopeful.

“Huh? No.” He headed to his office and set his items on his desk. As he thought about that day, the day he had come home early from work and Mark returned from New York with his new ‘boyfriend’, Steve did react violently towards Stan.

Even with what Mark had told him, he wasn’t sure it would have made any difference if he hadn’t.

After taking off his jacket, Steve rolled up his cuffs and watched as Mark walked by his glass wall, headed to the employee lounge with his coffee mug.

Steve rubbed his face and waited before he did the same.

~

Since Tadzio had managed to piss off not only his director, but the executive producer of the nighttime cable drama he starred in, he was cut out of the script.

His character, which was a woman who had transitioned from being a man, ‘Cheryl’ had been written out when he complained about the hurtful, callus dialogue.

He was in the doghouse for that, and for chopping off his long blond hair. Now he had to wait for his contract to expire before Adam Lewis, his talent agent, found him new work.

He was hoping since he had shorn off his long locks, stopped the hormone treatments, and was dressing like a man again, that he might get a part in something…anything.

But, in the meantime, since he didn’t want to be around the studio, he had volunteered to help Adam.

At this point he didn’t care if all he did were coffee and lunch runs. He just needed to feel useful.

After Alex left for work, Tadzio climbed into his new car, one Alex had bought for him. It wasn’t glamorous or expensive. It was transportation. And that suited Tadzio just fine for now.

He parked in the lot of Adam’s office, and climbed out, wearing dress slacks and a cotton top under a leather jacket. Tadzio ran his hand over his conservatively cropped blond hair and made his way inside.

“Hi, Tadzio!” Natalie smiled when he entered.

“Hi, Natalie.” He waved at Logan as well, and took his jacket off, hearing Adam Lewis in his office, already on the phone.

~

“If you want to come to LA I can get you auditions, Ewan.” Adam noticed Tadzio talking to Natalie, whose desk was located right outside his office. Adam struggled to understand Ewan’s thick Carlisle, England accent. Mark’s wasn’t nearly as heavy.

“LA? Nothing up north in the San Francisco or Sacramento area?” Ewan asked.

“I don’t really have any connections up north, Ewan.” Adam tapped his computer keys, the wireless earpiece in his ear as he spoke to Ewan Gallagher, a client and good friend.

“Jason isn’t keen on me being out of town for any length of time. He’s winging about missing England, getting on me nerves, yeah?”

Adam read through the audition listings. “I don’t know what to tell you. Either you can do work someplace other than Nor-Cal or you can’t.”

“I don’t know what to do. Send me auditions. I think it’s a good idea for Jas and I to mix it up. We’ve become fat, dumb and happy living in this place.”

“That’s not a bad thing, Ewan.” Adam checked Ewan’s resume and headshot, which he had online. Ewan and Dr Jason Phillips had purchased Mark’s mother’s estate in Paradise, in Northern California. Adam had been there several times, and knew how amazing the home was.

“Right. Well, now that you know I’m interested, put me on the list.”

“Okay.” Adam made a note of it on his pad. “Let me do this today while I’m thinking about you. Do you need to update your headshot?”

“I don’t think so. I still look the same.”

“Okay. I’ll send you what I find.”

“Cheers.”

Adam disconnected the call with a tap of his finger and looked up to see Tadzio in his doorway. “Hi, Tadzio.”

He entered the office. “I am going to get food and coffee. Do you want lunch or should I get snacks?”

“I had breakfast. If you’re going out, why not get us lunch?” Adam took his wallet out of his pocket. “Grilled chicken on a garden salad and a chai tea.”

Tadzio took the cash and wrote down Adam’s request.

As he did, Adam felt terrible for the young man. He was screwed at the moment; being under contract and not getting work on the nighttime cable drama he’d been hired for. Now Tadzio had to wait it out, painfully, and not work in another film or television show until his contract expired.

Tadzio took the cash and before he left, Adam asked, “Is everything okay at home with Steve living with you guys?”

Tadzio’s light blue gaze met his. “Why do you ask?” the Swedish bombshell appeared a little guilty.

“It’s just that with Mark and Steve split up…”

“Iz fine.” Tadzio left his office.

“Adam! Line one!” Natalie informed him.

Adam wasn’t sure he wanted to know what was going on with Tadzio…and Steve. He answered his phone, “Adam Lewis, can I help you?”

~

After hitting two morning classes in the gym he belonged to in West Hollywood: hot yoga and spinning, Stan dressed in his black suit, white shirt, and narrow black tie. It was his chauffeur outfit.

He’d been hired as a model for the same line of cologne as Mark had been; Dangereux, but so far, the income wasn’t enough to quit the driving work.

As he became famous, recognized for the ads he had done with Mark on both TV and in print, he hoped he could earn enough to not do anything else.

He checked his image in the full-length mirror behind the door of the walk-in closet. His heavy weightlifting workout had added bulk to his body, making the clothing snug over his chest, shoulders, and thighs.

Stan dabbed on his own brand of cologne, Dangereux Obsession and then read the pickup information on his phone. An airport run.

He pocketed his phone and made his way down the stairs. He had tidied up the kitchen after his breakfast and took a last look around. Locking the door behind him, Stan tapped a button on the wall to elevate the double garage door. Mark’s Ducati motorcycle was parked against the wall next to the open space where he parked his car.

Stan sat in his white 1970 classic Mustang, and started it up. Once he’d backed out, he closed the garage and drove to the limousine company, so he could take one of their town-cars to the airport.

~

Mark zoned off as he worked on the computer.

A light rap came to his door. He snapped out of his thoughts. Steve was there.

“We have an appointment.”

Mark became flustered. “Yes.” He saved his work and logged off, standing and buttoning his suit jacket. “Do you have the presentation items?”

“Yes.”

“Right.” Mark pointed to his laptop. “Do I need it?”

“I’ve got it.” Steve showed Mark his leather valise.

“Would you like me to drive?” Mark tucked his tie under his suit jacket.

“Up to you.” Steve led the way. “I don’t mind.”

Mark followed him, seeing coworkers peeking at them as they walked by the cloth dividers. It certainly wasn’t a secret that he and Steve were separated. It spread like wildfire through the office after a celebrity news broadcast had shown footage of him and Stan in New York.

They had attended a promotional event for the cologne company. And…shared a hotel room.

As they walked by the receptionist, Steve said, “At a meeting, Amber.”

“Okay, Steve.”

Mark waited with Steve at the elevators. “Seems we’re forever riding vertically.”

Steve didn’t answer, looking preoccupied.

Mark stepped onto the elevator with him, poking the button for the correct floor of the parking garage. His phone buzzed with a text.

Mark had a look.

His son had asked him what he was doing this weekend, and tonight, for dinner. Since he had no idea, Mark didn’t text back. “I can hold that.” Mark reached for the leather bag with the laptop and presentation items in it. “Since you’re driving.”

Steve handed him the bag.

Mark hated seeing him so unhappy.

The door to the elevator opened at the correct floor and two women were standing outside it, waiting to get on.

Mark tried to avoid them, following Steve to the car.

One of them said, “Are you Mark Richfield?”

He didn’t answer, lowering his head as Steve used his key-fob to open the doors of his car. Mark placed the bag behind the seat, and dropped down on it. Steve removed his suit jacket and folded it before sitting behind the wheel.

Mark put on his sunglasses and rested his hand on Steve’s leg.

Steve shifted his car into reverse and stared at Mark’s hand.

Since they weren’t moving, Mark asked, “No?”

Steve let out a low sigh and backed out of the parking space.

Mark removed his hand and interlaced his fingers on his lap. “Really? I can’t show affection to you?”

Not answering, Steve’s focus was on the road.

Mark fidgeted on the seat, the sick sense of worry began to invade him, and that usually meant, feeling lightheaded and dizzy.

~

Did he want Mark to touch him? Yes.

Did he want Mark to take him back? Yes.

Steve drove them to the office building where they were going to make a sales pitch to a new client.

Mark wasn’t the only one being torn in two.

Tadzio Andresen, the sexy blond Swedish model was in bed with Steve nightly.

Ever since he and Mark had separated, he and Tadzio were having sex. A lot of sex.

So much sex, that Steve worried that if he and Mark did reconcile, he was concerned about Tadzio getting hurt.

As he navigated the heavy traffic, Steve ran his hand along the bench seat to Mark. He rested it palm up.

Mark interlaced their hands and squeezed.

The touch was so comforting, Steve nearly cried. Mark glanced over at him. Steve struggled to hold it together since they were headed to a meeting with new clients.

“Steven…”

“Don’t.” Steve shook his head.

Mark drew Steve’s hand to his lips to kiss.

Battling with his emotions, Steve pulled into the parking lot and found an available space. He shut off the car after releasing Mark’s handclasp. He turned to look at Mark.

Mark had removed his sunglasses and was watching him.

“Fuck.” Steve was losing the battle.

“Come here.” Mark unhooked his seatbelt.

Steve went for that embrace and held Mark, inhaling him. Mark squeezed Steve tightly and kissed his neck. “Let’s just get through this meeting.”

He could hear Mark’s voice crack with emotion.

Steve nodded and parted from his hug.

They both rubbed at their eyes and then Mark chuckled in the awkwardness. “Blubbering like a baby.” He dabbed at the corners of his eyes.

Steve climbed out of the car, putting his jacket on. Mark shouldered the leather valise and reached out his hand. Steve took it and they walked to the building together.

Chapter 2


Stan stood in an arrival/baggage area of the LAX airport terminal. He held a sign with a celebrity’s name on it. He had no idea who this person was, since he didn’t keep up with Hollywood news. A few passengers who had begun to arrive at the luggage conveyor belt stared at him.

Stan was beginning to be recognized from the cologne campaigns ads, and…for his association with Mark as well.

It shouldn’t have, but being a limo driver now, after all the hoopla and exposure he was getting on social media and the celebrity gossip rags, was slightly embarrassing. But, he could handle it.

An older man acknowledged him with a wave. Stan threw the sign out and approached him. “Just tell me which bag is yours.”

The man gave him an intense look, as if he might recognize Stan as well. “That bag is mine.”

Stan hoisted it off the carousel. “Any others?”

The man watched the bags as they looped around. He removed a smaller rollaboard and nodded he could take it. Stan led the way to the parking area where he’d left his town-car.

As they went, the man said, “So, you’re the model who stole Mark Richfield from the cop?”

Stan whipped his head around to the man. Then, he thought about his name. Randy Dawson. He cleared his throat and didn’t know how to answer him, since it sounded tinged with spite.

“Are you?” Randy asked.

“Yes.” Stan took his key-fob out of his pocket and unlocked the car doors. He placed the luggage into the trunk and then opened the back door for Randy.

He took a seat as Stan closed the door for him and sat behind the wheel. Stan plugged this man’s home address into his navigator system. He felt Randy’s stare on the back of his head and tried not to let it distract him.

“I fucked Mark.”

Stan immediately met Randy’s gaze in the rearview mirror. Lord knew how many men wanted to claim that prize, but were lying. “Uh huh.” Stan drove to the exit, holding his parking pass.

“He came to my home, laid on my bed and spread.”

Stan tried not to choke at the absurdity. He scanned his card and the security rail opened, allowing him to make his way to the highway.

“Miller’s an asshole. Almost as big an asshole as Sharpe. I can’t believe they gave that douche the chief of police job.”

Dude? You’re an asshole, not Sharpe.

“I bet Alex is in heat for you too.” Randy ran his hand over his brown hair and checked his phone. “He and his dad wanted to share me, but, I only wanted Mark.”

Stan tried not to give too big of an eye-roll. Sure, buddy. Sure.

“So? Are they getting a divorce?” Randy’s smile was full of malice.

“I’d rather not discuss it.”

“Why the hell are you driving a limo? Mark’s loaded. His father owned Richfield International. If you’re still working, Mark’s not into you.”

Shut up! Stan focused on the highway traffic, seeing how long he had to go to this idiot’s home.

“He’s got some cock, huh?” Randy snickered. “Fucking Mark…no matter how old he gets, he’s sex on a stick. You should sell tickets.”

Stan counted to ten but was about to explode.

“And that ass. So tight. Christ, I can still feel his body against mine.”

Stan hit the brakes hard, even though he didn’t have to, wanting this asshole to shut up.

“Man. I’d pay good money to fuck him again.”

Taking the exit ramp off the highway, Stan’s teeth clenched.

“So? How’d you do it? How’d you get him to dump Miller?”

Stan pulled over to the side of the road the second he could. He threw the town-car into park, unlocked his seatbelt, and leaned over the back seat.

Randy blinked in surprise and stopped grinning, as if he were intimidated.

Stan struggled to control his volume. “If you don’t stop talking to me, I’m going to leave you here, with your luggage.”

“Chill. I thought we had something in common. I paid for this ride. So, keep going.”

Stan fastened his seatbelt and continued driving, wanting to slap this idiot in the mouth.

~

After the meeting, Steve collected the presentation items and put them back into his leather valise. Mark was smiling, shaking hands, as they managed to get another new client.

They were Harold Parsons’ dream team. He couldn’t deny it. He and Mark’s success rate with new accounts was ninety-nine percent.

“Lovely. We look forward to working with you.” Mark’s model smile shined.

Steve nodded to Mark he had everything they’d come with. After the pleasantries of shaking hands and contract signing, he and Mark returned to his car. Steve placed the leather bag in the back and took off his suit jacket, loosening his tie.

Mark checked his phone and sat beside him in the car. They exhaled at the same time; a loud sigh and then chuckled at each other for doing it in harmony.

“Well! Well done, partner.” Mark extended his hand.

Steve clasped it and he and Mark stared at each other for a long moment. Mark’s smile faded and his eyes became watery.

A catch formed in Steve’s throat.

Simultaneously, they went for each other. Mark held the back of Steve’s head and kissed him.

Steve’s heart raced and he dug his fingers into Mark’s soft hair. They swirled tongues and whimpered, and it felt so damn right.

~

Mark needed to gain air he was so anxious. They parted mouths and panted loudly, absorbing the act. “Wow. Steven.”

Steve shifted on the seat, tugging at his trousers as he became excited.

Mark sat facing forward and nudged at his dick, which was also swelling from the sexy act.

Steve started the car and cleared his throat. “We should stop somewhere for something to eat.”

“Whatever you wish.” Mark sent Harold a text, telling him they got the account. A message showed up on his phone.

It was from Stan. He had asked, ‘Do you know an asswipe named Randy Dawson?’

“So, just head back and hit the deli?” Steve asked as he left the parking lot of the office building.

Mark stared at that name. A name from his past.

Steve and Billy had threatened Randy Dawson. When Alex was cast in his first feature film, the two heavy-handed cops harassed Randy, warning him to not mess with Alex.

“Or? Maybe stop someplace else?” Steve asked as he drove.

Mark’s thumb hovered over the pad of his mobile phone. He had gone to Randy’s home, trying to calm things down so his son didn’t lose his first big role in a feature film. He had to lay with that monster.

“Mark?”

And the reason why Mark had to pacify that vile man, was sitting beside him.

~

Steve felt great after the successful presentation and kiss. Hope filled him. He glanced at Mark as he drove, and noticed Mark seemed upset over a text message. “Mark?”

Mark texted into his phone.

“Food?”

“Just take me back to the office, please.”

Something changed. Mark’s demeanor sank drastically. “Are you okay?”

Mark ignored him, putting his sunglasses on and staring out of the window.

“What the hell just happened?” Steve asked.

Mark sneered at him and said, “Randy Dawson.”

He had no idea why that name had come up, but Steve knew whatever the reason, it was yet another fuckup in his life that threatened his and Mark’s marriage.

~

Stan read the text from Mark.

He was parked in a red loading zone before his next pickup. With his attention on the traffic around him and any sign of parking enforcement, Stan waited.

A noise from the passenger’s side drew his attention. Mark was there, sunglasses on, tugging on the door handle. Stan unlocked it and sat up higher in the seat.

Mark dropped down beside him. “You had to drive that miserable git?”

“I did.” Stan touched Mark. “He was bragging about having made love to you.”

“Making love!” Mark looked rabid. “It wasn’t love! It was an act of desperation to save my son his starring role in his first feature film.”

“What the fuck?” Stan recoiled. “Sick!”

Mark threw the sunglasses on the dashboard and rubbed his stomach. “Billy and Steven confronted him. They threatened him to steer clear of Alexander. That left me to mop up the mess.”

“What the hell is wrong with everyone?” Stan balled his fists. “If I were your husband, I’d have taken that asshole down. I never would have let him touch you.”

Mark covered his face.

Stan deflated from his rage and pulled Mark closer. Kissing Mark’s hair, he cooed to him, “Okay. It’s okay.”

Mark hid his face against Stan’s neck.

“I don’t have much time.” Stan rubbed Mark’s back.

“Yes.” Mark sat correctly in the seat. “You need to stop this driving job. It’s as if all the cockroaches are coming out of the woodwork.”

Stan stared at Mark. “There’s so much I don’t know about you.”

Mark immediately met his gaze. “Are you repulsed?”

“Um. No. That’s too strong a word. I’m just disappointed.”

Mark reached for the inside door handle as if trying to escape.

Stan held him back. “Not in you. In Steve. In Billy. And especially that cunt, Dawson.”

“It was several years ago.” Mark inhaled deeply a few times, holding his stomach. “I’d done well forgetting.”

“I’m sorry I brought it up. But, he was so arrogant. I hate the fact that he’s so cavalier about what he did to you.”

Mark faced him. “Stop driving. I make enough money.”

“No. Not until I get a regular salary from Dangereux. I’m not comfortable living off you.”

Mark looked defeated. “Steven left me to work on the ad campaign for you. He’s the one to keep you flush in cash. Not me. I can’t seem to do anything right at the moment.”

“Mark.”

Appearing punished, Mark stared at him.

“I love you.” He caressed Mark’s cheek.

Mark was distracted for a moment, then picked up his sunglasses. “Parking enforcement just spotted you, love.”

“Shit.”

Mark climbed out of the car.

Stan put the car in drive and before he pulled away, he saw Mark standing alone, looking isolated on the city street as a crowd formed to take his photograph, surrounding him.

Stan drove to his next client, furious with Steve and Billy for placing Mark in that situation. “Unreal.” He shook his head.

~

At his desk in his law office, Jack Larsen researched the last will and testament for Milt and Leslie Richfield. A trust had been setup with a stack of forms and files so thick, it was going to take him weeks to unravel.

He used his intercom system. “Pete?”

“Yeah?”

“Can you come to my office?”

“Be right there.”

Jack removed his eyeglasses and drank from his coffee mug.

Pete Harrison, one of his law partners, entered his office. “What’s up?”

“I need help.”

Pete opened the button of his suit jacket and sat down in front of Jack’s desk.

“What are you working on now?” Jack asked, since this work for Mark was pro bono.

“Uh…” Pete scratched his chin. “The Fernwood case, and the Rooney divorce settlement.”

“Mark asked me to figure out if he could claim any of his family business’ assets.”

Pete appeared interested.

“He was basically robbed of his inheritance. I thought we’d have to deal with British law, but his father used a California firm to write the original will. It was Leslie who handed the company to her second husband and his family, not Milt. Milt had Mark as the designated heir.”

“Did she write Mark out? Did she make a new will?”

“Not that I’ve found. But, look at this.” Jack gestured to the mound of paper he had printed.

“That’s Milt Richfield’s will?” Pete’s eyes widened.

“Yes.”

“Holy…”

“Can you help me read it? See if there’s something in here that says Les couldn’t hand it over to Harry’s family?”

“Sure. What’s the deadline?” Pete picked up the index page.

“No deadline.”

“Okay.”

Jack watched Pete read the paperwork. “Thanks.”

~

It was Friday afternoon and Mark had enough. He left work early and stopped home.

An hour later he was in his red blazer, white blouse, beige britches, and high black boots. Mark sat in the English saddle atop his white stallion, Piccadilly’s Phantom. He raced over the dried brush and galloped across the expanse of ground. As he came to a barrier, he raised his bottom off the seat and squeezed his knees.

Piccadilly leapt over the fence and kept going.

Mark wasn’t sure where the property line was for the Glendale stable, but he didn’t want to stop.

Piccadilly was breathing hard and his hooves were thundering on the packed earth.

Mark’s horse leapt another barrier, into a wide open field. As Piccadilly covered the ground in minutes, Mark pulled up his rein and realized he’d come to a back road, winding around the hills. Piccadilly lowered his ears and stomped, his hot breath making steam clouds in the chilly air.

“All right.” Mark petted his neck. “We’ve reached the end of the line.” Mark took a look behind him. “I’ve no clue where we are.” He turned the horse around and they walked the same trail they’d come. He missed the mountains of Paradise, the never-ending trails, where you could ride all day and not see a home or road.

The horse strained at the bit, as if he wanted to keep running.

Mark reached to scratch between the horse’s ears, which were twitching and circling. “Are you ready to keep running?”

The horse shook its head and snorted, rearing up eagerly.

“All right, my pet.” Mark loosened up the hold on the rein. Piccadilly broke into a fast gallop. Mark followed the trail of flattened dried grass he’d made coming. Seeing the fence, Mark readied for the jump.

Piccadilly sailed over it effortlessly.

Mark peered behind him. “You like jumping? How did I not know that?”

With his heels, Mark tapped his horse to go faster and the second fence rail appeared. “Go, baby.”

The white stallion took wing over the wooden fence and barreled back to the stable. Mark rubbed his neck affectionately, proud of Piccadilly’s power as well as his courage.

~

By five pm, Stan returned to the gym to complete his exercise routine. He pumped weights this time after doing his yoga and spinning class earlier. The gym was in West Hollywood. Since Mark agreed to keep Stan’s apartment there, he was going to use it to shower and change clothing after.

Seated on an incline bench, Stan curled heavy weights as he kept his fitness level high. He and Mark had a summer photo shoot coming up, and that meant at the very least, topless.

He stood and placed the dumbbells onto the rack, taking the next heavier size and bringing them to the bench.

While he recuperated, Stan shook out his arms and rolled his neck. It took him a second, but he realized several men had phones pointing at him, taking his picture or video. Stan wasn’t sure how to react. He was getting recognized more and more from both, his print and media exposure as well as the celebrity rags exposing his and Mark’s love affair.

He’d been warned about the duel nature of celebrity. After what happened with Randy Dawson, Stan was wary of any attention.

He sat down and picked up the weights, staring at his reflection in the mirror in front of him and trying to complete his workout. Mark had offered to set up a gym in their home in Bel Air. Maybe he should think seriously about doing it.

“Are you Stan Charles?” a young man asked.

He finished his repetitions and set the weights on the mat. “Yes.”

“Oh, my God! You fuck Mark Richfield?” The kid held up his phone and took his picture.

“Do ya mind?” Stan narrowed his eyes at him.

“Dude! What’s it like?”

Since he was being videotaped, Stan ignored him and continued his workout, trying to shut out the nosy questions and phones being held up in his face.

~

Steve closed down his computer and checked the time. After the presentation he couldn’t find Mark. Which meant, he’d left early. Again. Dangereux Obsession’s in house team were on him to continue Stan’s new ad campaign. It appeared no one got the memo that Mark was dealing with Stan’s account without him now. He had a feeling Mark wasn’t keeping up with the new designs.

Steve read his phone. A text had come from Tadzio, ‘When are you coming home?’

Soon.’

Alec wants to go out. Okay?’

Sure.’ Steve straightened his desk. ‘On my way now.’

A smile emoji showed up. Steve stood and pushed his chair under his desk, then rolled his sleeves down his arm and put his suit jacket on. Another text message made his phone chime. It was his sister, Laura, asking if Mark was going to give his niece, Chloe, another riding lesson this weekend. He still hadn’t told his family he had separated from Mark.

One reason was, his father, a homophobic-racist ex-cop, was going to rejoice. Dick Miller hated Mark with a passion.

I’ll let you know.’ He shut off his light and closed his office door, making his way to the elevator. He sent Mark a text, ‘Laura wants to know if you’re still going to teach Chloe how to ride this weekend.’

Yes.’

“Oh.” Steve was surprised not only that Mark was, but that he’d gotten an answer quickly. ‘Thanks.’

He sent Billy a text. ‘Are we running?’

I was about to ask you that. yes.’

On my way home now.’

Same here.

Steve pocketed his phone and headed to his car, trying to put the whole Randy Dawson sense of doom, out of his mind.

~

Mark pulled his TVR into the garage. Stan’s Mustang was already parked in it. He shut down the engine and climbed out, then stood near the kitchen’s connecting door trying to tug off his high black riding boots.

The interior door opened and Mark nearly fell since he was leaning on it.

“Holy shit!” Stan caught him. “Sorry.”

“No worries. Can you give me a hand?”

Stan made sure Mark was stable, then crouched down and tugged at the heel of his boot, taking it off. “How was the ride?”

“Good. Piccadilly was feeling his oats.” Mark smiled as Stan yanked the second boot off. “Thank you, love.” Mark entered the kitchen. He noticed mail on the counter and washed his hands first.

Stan reached around him from behind and they soaped up their fingers together. Stan pressed his face against Mark’s hair. “Your hair feels cold.”

“Yes, well.” Mark picked up the dishtowel to dry and turned around to face Stan. “It’s chilly out there.”

“Mmm.” Stan pressed his crotch against Mark’s, pinning Mark to the counter.

Mark could tell Stan was fresh from a shower. He dried Stan’s hands for him lovingly.

“Look at you in your riding outfit.” Stan stared between Mark’s legs.


Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-23 show above.)